3 Sensational Ways to Enjoy Kaya

Pronounced ka-ya, this word has 2 different meanings in the Malay language. It can either mean “wealthy” or “coconut jam”, which is a sweet, creamy spread made from coconut milk or santan, eggs, and sugar. Let’s explore the latter – kaya jam!

Kaya is popular in Southeast Asia, particularly in Malaysia and Singapore, where it is typically used as a topping for bread, toast or as a filling for pastries or as a sauce in glutinous rice delicacies. Kaya has a rich, coconut flavour and a smooth, velvety texture that glides down your throat, making for a delicious and satisfying treat.

Often enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack, kaya is a staple in all Asian pantries. In Southeast Asia, kaya is typically made using pandan leaves, which gives the spread a distinctive green colour and fragrant aroma. Pandan leaves are a common ingredient used to flavour a variety of dishes, including kaya.

Kaya is easy to make at home and there are many versions of recipes available online. The traditional recipe involves heating coconut milk and sugar in a saucepan, then whisking in egg yolks – some use duck eggs for a richer texture – and other ingredients until the mixture thickens and becomes glossy. The jam spread is then cooled and transferred to a jar or container for storage.

Known for its versatility, there are a myriad of recipes in which you can incorporate kaya. Here are a few simple recipes to make at home:

Kaya Puff Pastry (Kaya Kok)


  • 1 beaten egg, room temperature
  • 100-130g kaya
  • 1 tbsp white sesame seeds

Water Dough:

  • 160g plain flour
  • 25g sweetener or castor sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter (cubed and chilled)
  • ½ tsp salt

Butter Dough:

  • 80ml cold water
  • 100g plain flour
  • 60g unsalted butter (softened)

Imagine flaky, buttery, melt-in-your-mouth pastry with a crunchy crust, oozing with delicious kaya jam upon first bite.

Commonly known as ‘Kaya Kok’ in Southeast Asia, this delicacy is a crowd favourite for all sweet pastry lovers. Eaten for breakfast, a midday snack, teatime accompaniment or any time of the day, this delicacy is simple yet a classic in many households.



Water Dough:

  1. Mix flour, sweetener and salt.
  2. Add chilled cut butter and mix till the mixture turns into a loose sand texture.
  3. Add cold water gradually to form a soft dough.
  4. Form the dough into a ball, cover with cling wrap and let rest for 15 minutes in the fridge.

Butter Dough:

  1. Mix butter and flour in a mixer.
  2. Form the dough into a ball, cover with cling wrap and let rest for 15 minutes in the fridge.

Preparing the kaya puff pastry:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 170°C.
  2. Divide water and butter dough into 12 equal portions and form into balls.
  3. Wrap each butter dough with water dough and roll into round balls.
  4. Lightly flour kitchen top and rolling pin. Roll each dough into oblong shapes, then roll up like a swiss roll. Turn horizontally and repeat.
  5. Cover with cling wrap and let the dough rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Lightly flour your workspace and roll out each dough into an oblong shape. Recommended size: 7cm x 10cm with a 2mm thickness.
  7. Spoon 1.5tsp of kaya into the middle.
  8. Fold the dough and pink the sides to create a semi-circle edge.
  9. Beat an egg to make the egg wash and brush on top of each kaya puff.
  10. Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until golden brown in colour.


Kaya French Toast

If you love warm, fluffy toast with jam, you’ll love this combination! Easy and satisfying, kaya toast is an evergreen breakfast item found in most local coffee shops or kopitiams across the country in Malaysia and Singapore.

Either served on steamed or toasted bread, this sweet sandwich tastes divine when dipped in hot milk coffee or Milo. Or, we challenge you to level-up with Kaya French Toast!


  • 2 slices of white bread or Hainanese bread
  • 1 egg, beaten, room temperature
  • Butter or Planta
  • Kaya


  1. Spread a generous amount of kaya on one slice of bread, followed by butter or Planta on another slice to make a sandwich.
  2. Dip the sandwich into the beaten egg.
  3. Fry on low heat until golden brown on both sides.
  4. Optional: Serve with powdered sugar and an extra dollop of kaya!


Kaya Kuih


  • 300g Kaya
  • 250g all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 125g butter
  • 75g castor sugar
  • 200ml fresh milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp pandan paste
  • Optional: 1 tsp green food colouring

Commonly referred to as Kaya Balls, these bite-sized Kaya Kuihs really pack a punch! Fluffy and fragrant on the outside and oozing with warm, sweet kaya on the inside, this childhood favourite is often made fresh to order at snack stalls in shopping malls. It’s no wonder this tiny and mighty snack is well-loved by kaya fans of all ages.


  1. Mix flour, baking powder and salt, then sieve and set aside.
  2. In a mixer, combine butter, sugar, and eggs, one at a time.
  3. Add pandan paste and mix till smooth.
  4. Incorporate the flour mixture into the batter. Add milk into the mixture while stirring slowly.
  5. In 2 separate piping bags, place the wet batter and kaya paste.
  6. Pre-heat oven to 170°C.
  7. Line the mould with butter or oil before piping. Pipe the batter into the mould, followed by a dollop of kaya paste in the center. Finish off with more batter.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until the edges of kaya kuih start turning a light golden brown.


Have fun experimenting with these kaya recipes to find the one that works best for you. Spread your love for kaya by sharing your photos and videos with us on Facebook & Instagram!

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